Mary-Claire King, the famed scientist who discovered the link between the BRCA1 gene and many forms of breast and ovarian cancer, is portrayed by Helen Hunt in “Decoding Annie Parker,” scheduled for theatrical release this fall.

kingThankfully for movie-goers, the film doesn’t include the mind-numbing details of the past week of King’s life.

By pure happenstance, King was the presiding juror in the patent dispute between Microsoft and Motorola, signing the verdict form in which the jury found that Motorola had breached its obligations to standards-setting groups when it offered to license key patents to Microsoft for significantly more than fair and reasonable terms. The jury awarded Microsoft damages of $14.5 million, about half of what the company had been seeking.

The jury in the case held up admirably through hours upon hours of testimony and arguments about esoteric details of H.264 video and 802.11 wireless standards, and the back-and-forth negotiations and complex corporate maneuvering between Microsoft and Motorola — with some allegations about Android patents thrown into the mix for good measure.

Despite that slog, the jury kept its spirits up, even coordinating outfits in the final days of the trial.

Via email yesterday, King very graciously declined to comment about the case or the verdict.

The makeup of the jury, including King, could help to dispel the notion that these patent cases are over the heads of many jurors. After the jury in Microsoft vs. Motorola was initially seated in the case last week, U.S. District Judge James Robart commented on the remarkably high level of education in the overall jury pool. Based on King’s background, that was almost an understatement.

Google, which bought Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year, has signaled that it plans to appeal the jury verdict.

Here’s the trailer for the movie, with Hunt portraying the genetics pioneer.

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  • Rich Unger

    She also has pretty specific views on patents, informed by her experience from the supreme court case around BRCA1:

    • Todd Bishop

      Interesting find, thanks. It was clear to both sides who she was during jury selection. (I wasn’t there for that, but I understand the judge actually reference who she was.) It came in the context of questions about whether the prospective jurors had ever been the subject of media coverage/interviews. I wonder if the lawyers for either side found that piece before the jury was seated.

  • guest

    I’m surprised she didn’t get challenged off the jury.

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